Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7671/Dac

Posted by John on May 18th, 2011


On the radio this morning was the information that Mahler died 100 years ago today, so I expected to find some recognition of this in the Indy crossword, and one of the rare occasions when the theme is immediately apparent. But no, it was the usual Dac, who doesn’t tend to do thematic crosswords (although now that I’ve said that all the Mahler references will no doubt be pointed out to me). To say that suggests that it was a bit of a comedown. Not at all: the usual high standard we expect from him, although I have doubts about one or two of the clues, doubts that may well be unjustified. I found this on the easy side for Dac — at any rate I made steady progress through it and did not have the usual hold-ups at the end.

1 BLUSTER — (troubles — 0)*
9 OYSTER BAR — (ferry boats — f{isherman})*
10 sevERAL Clare — hidden reversed and an &lit. because Clare is one of the Cambridge colleges
11 EXPRESS — 2 defs
14 FOO(D SUPPLE MEN)T — Vitamin D and the definition is ‘extra nutrient’
17 MAN BOOKER PRIZE — man book ER “prise”, although prize is an alternative spelling of prise; makes for a better surface, though, if ‘cited’ is used
21 STILLER — ref Ben Stiller, 2 defs
22 SH AN(N{oise})ON
23 REIGN — “rain”, something we need in the South-East: what we had last night wasn’t nearly enough
24 GREATNESS — (sergeants’)*
27 TREASON — I think this is (rate)* so n, although so = true seems a bit tenuous
1 BROKE OFF — bro “cough”
2 UPS — 2 defs, one of them referring to the delivery service UPS, a company that I was vague about until I saw its logo
5 MIRABELLE — r in (aim)rev. belle — it’s the fruit of a European species of plum-tree — I’d only ever heard of Mirabelle Airport in Montreal
6 RECLAIM — (miracle)* — very easy, but typical of Dac’s clues: an absolutely perfect surface
7 INATTENTION — “inner tension”
8 TWEE D{res}S
12 PRO FAN(I{mportant} TIE)S
15 P(L)OW RIGHT — ref Joan Plowright
16 TENNYSON — NY’s in (nonet)rev.
18 BA{nk} LANCE
19 PR ATTLE{e} — not absolutely comfortable with ‘between’ used here as a mere juxtaposition word
20 U(SURE)R — how does ‘sure’ = ‘showing confidence’ or ‘confidence’? It seems to be the wrong part of speech. And also shouldn’t we be told that Ur is an old city?
22 S(WE)AT
25 SEa MiSt — referring to the German river

16 Responses to “Independent 7671/Dac”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    Nice one John

    Re 27 across, at first I had my doubts about ‘so’o for ‘true’ but people do say ‘that is so’ meaning true, don’t they?

  2. Richard Palmer says:

    Fairly straightforward puzzle. In 27 ac I’ve no problems with so = true, as in the expression “Is that so?”. I have confidence that 20d is OK, in fact I’m sure of it! I agree that Ur should have been described as “old city” though.

  3. flashling says:

    Conrad beat me to it, thanks for the EMS link I knew the name but not where it is…

    Thanks John & Dac

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the mainly enthusiastic blog – I liked this relatively easy puzzle too. But the few criticisms of the clues did seem unfair:
    Re 19 – I think “between” is ok: between them, the prince and the shortened PM make “prattle”. A legitimate “stretch”, I’d say, especially given the way it also works more whimsically with the surface.
    Re 20 – How could you possibly think “sure” doesn’t mean “showing confidence”?
    Re 27 – I agree with the other comments. It’s not remotely contentious that so = true.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Dac, and John. I too found this excellent and quite easy. While Dac generally does not do themed puzzles in the Indy (and we don’t want every puzzle to be themed, do we?), he’s certainly set them in other guises eg as Smokey in the Listener. As weak on films, had no or only vaguely half-remembered knowledge of the two actors, so was pleased to be able to get them from the wordplay. Favourite clue, BALANCE.

  6. Mustyx says:

    No we don’t want every puzzle to be themed!! This was straightforward, and I had no problem with so=true, sure=showing confidence or the ‘between’ in 19dn. I think we’ve all had enough Urs not to need the ‘old’ any more! I don’t like 2 dn, as brand names (especially American ones) shouldn’t be in crosswords, as I’ve complained before. What next? Cif? HSBC? Andrex? AOL? No!

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John.

    Usual excellence from Dac today. As Mustyx says, it’s good to have an unthemed puzzle as part of the Indy weekly offerings.

  8. Mustyx says:

    Hate to sound as if I’m always complaining, but isn’t it a rule that people don’t appear in crosswords until they’re dead? Or is that just The Times?

  9. caretman says:

    Thanks, John, for the blog. I’ll join the others in saying that I thought the elements you found iffy seemed perfectly fine to me, and in fact appreciating that UR was clued only as ‘the city’ and not ‘old city’ which has become so hackneyed. I’d like to put in applause for 3d, a wonderfully brief clue; I loved ‘Florida area’ = THE SE US. It was an easy puzzle but still very enjoyable, so thanks Dac.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    Mustyx (6)-
    But the brand name doesn’t have to be the answer. I read it as ups – plural of up, as in “ups and downs”, with U.P.S. as the cryptic part. I think if the answer had been U.P.S./UPS as opposed to ups the letter count might have been 1,1,1. Isn’t that ok? Or do you object to brands being alluded to in clues at all?

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    As far as I’m aware, Mustyx, that’s never been a rule in the Indy crossword. Scorpion’s puzzle yesterday with the Beatles theme would have been a bit of a no-no otherwise, since it mentioned the two remaining members of the fab four as well as the two who are no longer with us.

  12. Mustyx says:

    Thanks Thomas99: I admit that the answer is ups as you say rather than U.P.S. I still don’t like it much, though. Last week we had Audi as an answer which was, in my opinion, worse. But I can live with it in the interests of a good puzzle!

    Thanks also Kathryn’s Dad: I spent a long time thinking the answer couldn’t be ‘STILLER’ as he’s still going strong. It must be a Times rule, though it only seems to apply to surnames. Themed puzzles are rare in that paper, but there was recently a wedding themed puzzle which included ‘William and Kate’ as a Nina, both definitely alive on the day! Perhaps a Times setter/solver could settle this?

  13. sidey says:

    You could ask about The Times’ rules at Mustyx.

  14. eimi says:

    Former Times editor Brian Greer was content to abandon the rule about living people and trademarks when he took over the reins at the Indy and I don’t see any problem with either. The important criterion is whether people could be expected to know them. I don’t think many people can have got through life without having heard of Audi or UPS.

  15. redddevil says:

    Was I the only one who thought that the US in the Ben Stiller clue stood for useless rather than American? :-)

  16. Mustyx says:

    Thanks for clearing that up, eimi.

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